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Englefield, battle of

Englefield, battle of, 871. No more than a skirmish, the battle at Englefield to the west of Reading in early 871 marks the opening of the bitter struggle between the West Saxons and the Danes. An exploratory raiding party led by two earls, one of whom, Sidroc by name, was killed, was defeated by Æthelwulf, the ealdorman of Berkshire. Four days later, however, Æthelwulf himself was killed in the failure of the West Saxons, commanded by King Æthelred and his brother Alfred, to dislodge the Danes from their campaign headquarters at Reading. The failure led directly into the so-called ‘year of battles’ in the course of which (in mid-April) the king died, to be succeeded by Alfred.

Henry Loyn

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